Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Learning What I Do and Don't Like

Since I learned to knit, knitting has been a way of keeping my hands busy, and making me feel productive even when I'm in a situation where all I can do is sit. As a teenager, it was also a means of making a little extra money. I would knit bags, and scarf sets to sell at Christmas time. Now mind you, I was by no means compensated for my time, but extra money was extra money. I did a lot of babysitting, so once the children had gone to bed, I would make the most of my time, knitting until I could no longer stay awake. 

Just recently, I was sharing some of my "adventures in babysitting" stories. It's amazing what a kid can do to you!!! If I had known then what I know now, I don't think that dollar an hour would have looked quite so good ;) 

Back in April, I shared THIS post where I talked about my knitting goals for this year. My goal is to finish 12 projects. At this point...I have finished a whopping 3 :/  

In that post, I told you about the Lorna's Laces factory that is very close to where I live. From time to time, the owner hosts an open house. Along with the open house, she includes a tour and demonstration. I found it to be especially interesting. She even did a little dying for us. Well, going to a yarn factory for me, is a little like going to an animal shelter to "just look" at the animals. Talk about playing with fire!!! Although, I only purchased yarn for 2 projects, and until I get a few more projects finished, I know better than to go back!

The third project that I just recently finished is a shawl using the Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace yarn. OMG!!!, this yarn is like knitting with thread. Not quite that bad, but the project taught me one thing, I don't especially like knitted lace projects.

The shawl has a pretty little picot edging.

To create the rounded shape, the shawl is knitted with short rows which forms wedges. When I purchased the yarn, the woman at Lorna's Laces had said that it was a 1 skein project. I remember looking at the skein and thinking that there was no way it would be enough. As I worked, it seemed that the yarn was somehow multiplying as there always seemed to be more. The instructions said to create 6 wedges, I had enough for 8.

My finished shawl. Please forgive my clothing and my lack of makeup. I thought I would quickly do the post before I head out for my walk. 

In the end, I was happy that I had enough to create 8 wedges as the shawl now has a lovely drape.

I really love how it drapes over the shoulders.

Crazy me, always looking for other possibilities! I think it will be fun to clip it at the waist and wear it over a pair of leggings.

This is one project that I am VERY HAPPY to have finished. Now that it's completed, I love it, but there won't be another!

There are lots of projects on Ravelry using the Helen's Lace yarn. So check them out if you are on Ravelry.

If by chance you think that you might like to make a shawl for yourself, you can find the free pattern HERE at Love Knitting.

Now back to my sweater

Nice bulky yarn, now that I like :)     

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Monday Morning Inspiration/The Roddis Collection

When I crawled into bed last night, I told my husband that I was putting a period on last week. Done.

The finale of the week happened yesterday afternoon. My husband and I had gone out for an afternoon drive. Sheridan Road is amazing. If you've seen the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off, the road is actually showcased. It winds through Northwestern University, the most exquisite neighborhoods, and lovely ravines. 

At one point, my car began to miss a bit, but then seemed to straighten out. My husband thought it could have been something in the gas that just worked its way through the carburetor. 

Before we turned around to head home, we stopped for an ice cream cone. When I started the car, it really began to miss, but it had power. As I rolled out on the road, the power began to decrease and it was obvious that it was going to die. Thankfully, I was able to pull into a parking lot before it completely died. Long story a tad shorter, we called for a tow truck, waited an hour and a half, but he came, and drove us home. Home, everything always seems a little better once you are home :)

Last week I shared an exhibit that I saw at the beautiful Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend, WI. While the Contemporary Threads exhibit is quite interesting, the main exhibit is; 
American Spirit and Style
Fashions and Lives of the Roddis Family

This is a spectacular exhibit. The clothes were found in the attic of Augusta Roddis after her death in 2011. Who would have thought that an attic in the small town of Marshfield, Wisconsin would hold so many wonderful treasures. 

What I especially enjoyed about the exhibit was the fact that I could get so close to the clothes. In most exhibits, the viewer is kept some distance away. I loved being able to look closely and even get close up shots of the details.

This is the cover dress for the exhibit. Cut on the bias, I love the sleeve details.

An Yves St. Laurent dress. The exhibit book explains how the women of the Roddis family loved beautiful, well-made clothes, but their taste was very modest.  

The designer of this suit was Gunther Jaeckal, c. 1954.

This piece was one of my favorites. I would love to be able to look inside and see what was used to support the shoulder detail.

An everyday dress made chic with the addition of the cape.

Such a pretty, yet understated dress.

I was happy that I was able to get the close up detail of the bodice. Notice how there are sheer inserts inside the braided detail. Again, understated, but exquisite.

I always enjoy discovering something new to me. The gown below was designed by Gladys Parker, a cartoonist who created the Mopsy strip which ran for 3 decades.

Along with her comic strip, Ms. Parker began designing her own line of clothing in 1934, and even did some costume design work in Hollywood.

This gown was actually worn to a party given by Princess Margaret.

Understated elegance.

Very much from the 1980's! 

The exhibit is much more extensive than what I have shared. It runs through September 17, 2017, so if you can make the trip to Wisconsin, I HIGHLY recommend seeing this exhibit.

The accompanying exhibit book is one of the best I've seen. Beautifully written, it takes you through the history of the family and showcases many pieces that were not included in the exhibit. You can take a look through the book HERE. The best price for the book is at Amazon. I also found the book HERE at AbeBooks(my new favorite book seller)

Have a wonderful week, and if by chance last week wasn't the best, put a period on it...and make this week great!

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Night Reflections

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The Call of the Red Suede Wild!

When I last left you, my red suede for the leather version of the Islander Fast and Fabulous Jacket looked like this.

It now looks like this. Not yet completed, but well on its way.

Working with any type of skin, it can take a little finagling on the part of cutting out the pattern. 

I had 3 skins that totaled just about 28 square feet. That would seem like quite a bit, but skins are not rectangular pieces of fabric, and there are imperfections. 
In order to get the jacket out of the skins that I had, some changes needed to be made. I'll walk you through them. 

For shaping over the shoulder, the raglan sleeve has a neckline dart. Rather than sew in a dart, I split the sleeve down the center and turned the dart into a seam. A raglan sleeve is also quite large, so splitting it down the middle made pieces that are much easier to position on the suede. 

1/2" seam allowances were added to the sleeve seams. 

Once the seams were stitched, I then top stitched them  to hold them in place. 

The front jacket pattern was also cut apart to allow for better placement on the suede. I chose to make a diagonal seam from the sleeve notch to center front. 

1/2" seam allowance added. The seam was sewn and then top stitched in place.

The seam was left at center back and a coordinating diagonal line was drawn in to the back jacket.

As with the other pieces, a 1/2" seam allowance was added.

The center back seam as well as the diagonal seams were top stitched.

Once I have top stitched my side seams, I'll be ready to attach my lining and the facings.  

In my next post, I'll show you how I am constructing the lining. You just might be amazed by how easy it is to do!

I need to finish the blue jacket, but the red suede was calling out to me, so I just had to put the other jacket aside and get this one finished :) At least I'll be ready when the cool fall temperatures arrive.

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Details Can Really Make a Garment Pop!

I have recently begun to long for a new little dog, a puppy, a little puppy that's brand new to this world. As tempting as a purebred is, it will be a little rescue pup. I've looked at so many rescue sites. While looking last night, there was a little pup that caught my eye, but the angel in my heart whispered, "wait, not yet." The older I get, the more I am learning to listen to that angel who lives in my heart, she always knows best.

A year ago, my Little Bit was beginning to struggle. The stairs were an issue, but she had learned to call for me when she wanted to come down, and of course I would come running to her aide. The tumor in her jaw had also begun to grow. It's still heartbreaking to think about it, but hearts do heal, and mine is mending. It's amazing what time can do :) 

After what has turned out to be a busy summer, things are returning to normal, and I'm getting back to my neglected projects.

Just about a month ago, I shared with you the jacket below that I made using the Islander Fast and Fabulous Jacket pattern. I was very pleased with the finished jacket. 

Taking a look at the pattern cover, you can see that I tapered the jacket at the waist. Although I was very pleased with the pattern, I found the sleeves to be a little short and advised to lengthen the sleeve. 

The jacket was designed to be a fast make by serging the seams. While that's great, I wanted do another where a little more time is taken to give the jacket just a bit more pizzazz. 

The jacket below is a linen and denim blend. I purchased a fun coordinating fabric that I used to bind the seams.

I absolutely love how it looks. It's now one of those jackets that I enjoy looking at the inside as much as the outside.

I decided to pipe the outer edge of the jacket. As you can see, I'm not quite finished.

For a little added interest, I included the vent and piped it as well.

I plan to pipe the edge of the welt for the welt pockets, and I think I will also do piped bound buttonholes. Why not, right? :)

I'm going to do one final jacket and this one will be out of suede, and lined. So you'll be able to see just how versatile the pattern is.  

 The Fast and Fabulous Jacket pattern is a great pattern that lends itself to so many fabric possibilities. And...it's perfect whether you want something quick to make, or you want to add a little more detail.

Back to the studio!

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Pant That's Perfect For Even a Novice Sewist

This past week, I once again had the pleasure of hosting a delightful young woman. She came last summer with a shopping list, so thinking that it would once again be on the agenda, I factored it into what I thought we would be doing. The only thing on her shopping list was the need for some new pants to take back to school. I had initially said that we could make pajama pants, but when I showed her the Barb Pant from Style Arc Patterns, that was what she wanted. 

If by chance you have not heard about the Barb Pant from Style Arc, it's a basic, slim fitting pant intended for fabrics with some stretch.

It was even voted the best pattern for 2015 by Pattern Review readers.

I've made 2 pair for myself. Not the best picture of the pants, but they are perfect for pulling on anytime I really want ease of movement. With me below is Kim of The Material Lady

My little friend was so excited about making pants rather than shopping for them. She ended up with 3 new pair.

I let her go through my fabrics and she chose this fun psychedelic print. It's a cotton and spandex blend. 

The fabric below is a stretch denim. Almost has a yoga pant feel. She's looking forward to pairing them with sweatshirts and sweaters in the fall and winter.

After watching me make 2 pair, she wanted to give the pattern a try, so we purchased another piece of stretch denim and she did an incredible job! I told her that the only problem would now be that when she goes back to school, all of her friends are going to want her to make a pair for them as well. She was so proud of her accomplishment that she wore the pants home on the plane. A true sewist who can't wait to wear what she has made :)

The Barb Pant was offered as a free download just for signing up to the Style Arc newsletter. You can find the link HERE

The pants are easy to make and easy to fit, and a great project for someone who is learning to sew. 

So, download the pattern and have a little fun making pants!

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Monday Morning Inspiration/Contemporary Threads

A few weeks ago, my sister-in-law who lives near Milwaukee, sent me an article about an exhibit at the Museum of Wisconsin Art. It's located in West Bend, a small town about 30 minutes north of Milwaukee. Although it's a bit of a drive from Chicago, it's well worth the time spent in traveling. I had a little time last week, so I thought I would make the trip.

The museum is rather small and has a triangular shape to the building. The street facing side is a wall of windows, so the museum is flooded with light.

Upon entering, due to the shape of the building, you are pulled in and made curious about what is around the corner.

The exhibit on the first floor is called Contemporary Threads. Four of the featured designers are Project Runway alum, including Peach Carr. 

This coat caught my eye. From the outside it is striking with its bright yellow color and bold black top stitching.

On the inside, a true statement with the embroidered faces and names of influential women.

Just an incredible piece of work.

Peach Carr had 4 pieces in the exhibit. Fun and quite mod.

I thought that this piece was quite fun with the exaggerated faux pearls.

This dress was created by draping pieces of leather around the body.

Not quite sure of what is trying to be said with this piece, but it's still quite eye catching. 

This piece did not photograph well. Lots of unexpected combinations of fabrics. 

The shoulder pieces are made from buckrum that has been bound.

 Believe it or not, this entire coat is made from plastic twist ties.

I found the mix of fabrics on this dress to be rather interesting.

This gown is really quite pretty.

I love how the designer gave the garment a subtle interest by overlaying a vibrant print with the black lace.

And finally, the end of the exhibit. Loved the drama. The hanging sculptures are Chihuly blown glass.  

If by chance you are going to be in the area of Milwaukee, by all means, check out the museum. There are 2 other wonderful fashion exhibits on display, 

Florence Eiseman: Designing Childhood for the American Century 
The Roddis Collection: American Style and Spirit  

Both will be on exhibit through September 17, 2017.

Next week I'll share the Roddis Collection. The collection includes some of the most amazing vintage designer pieces...and they were found in an attic in Marshfield, Wisconsin. Incredible!!!

Go check your attic, you never know what might be there ;)

Have a wonderful week!

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